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Fragmentation of WHS boot partition


manphil
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Hi folks,

 

Noticed recently that my WHS system was getting slower to boot up.

 

I had one of those rare moments of 'clarity of mind', so ran the microsoft Defrag analyzer ..... result C: drive indicating an almost purple colour (I am an Aussie hence spelling) ....so close was the mix of thin blue and thin red lines.

 

Ran the defrag on just the C drive (sys partition) ....surprise, surprise boot times are much better and response to many other things like WHS console seems to be better as well.

 

My system is a franken-build, boot drive is 80GB Sammy 2.5", pool is 5x 1.5TB 3.5" Sammys and one 1.0TB 3.5" Sammy.

 

 

Anybody else notice this. I havent looked at the boot partition fragmentation since rebuilding on to the 2.5" Sammy some 6-7 months ago.

 

cheers

Phil.

Edited by manphil
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Thanks for posting. This is a good testimonial on the efficacy of running defrag on a WHS box. Interesting to hear that Console responds better as a result. I'm not surprised.

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I am curious about this thread, as I seem to recall Microsoft recommending not to use their built in defragmenter on WHS V1.

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FYI,

 

http://social.microsoft.com/Forums/en/whssoftware/thread/67a19ef5-8da4-4070-8c7c-b0c5b902cd03

 

Caution

 

You should not use the DEFRAG utility on your Windows Home Server hard drives. Defragmentation does not affect the primary data partition in a home server with multiple hard drives because the majority of files are 4 KB tombstones. The DEFRAG utility may cause issues with the Volume Shadow Copy Service that runs every 12 hours to create previous version snapshots of the shared folders on the home server.

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At the risk of being struck by lightning, I think I'm going to disagree somewhat with John in regards to whether it's ever OK to use the built-in defrag.

 

The reason the built-in defrag is not recommended for WHS is because there is a risk of corruption to Volume Shadow copies. Since most people do not use these "Previous Versions" and since that is the only thing that defrag could possibly corrupt, there's no reason not to use the built-in defrag if you don't ever intend to use "Previous Versions".

 

That said, I recognize that different people use their servers in different ways. If you think you'll want to use previous versions, then yes, to be on the safe side, only use PerfectDisk or Diskeeper (WHS versions). Then you can defrag to your heart's delight.

 

*All that stuff about tombstones is correct, but manphil's marked performance improvement points to justification for running a defragmenter. I say, 'Do it!', as long as you observe the caveats I mentioned above.

 

**Also, HP ships their MSS with VSS disabled by default. Not applicable for Frankenbuilders, of course, but worth noting.

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I will agree with dvn that running disk defrag did help out manphil and I reccomend using a 3rd party app to clean up your system every couple of months. But because WHS does it's thing with DE and shares, even Microsoft suggests a 3rd party defrag app. The built in one seems outdated and was designed for Server 2003 without WHS.

 

The way your going DVN I'm betting you will hit 500 posts before the week is up. :P

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Funny this thread should come up as I was looking at the same thing earlier this week. I have several version of Diskkeeper available to me and it does not seem to play well with WHS for whatever reason because of VSS. At the risk of breaking something, I am going to wait until I get home in a couple of weeks and build a WH340 for my wife and play with this some more.

My delays could have been nothing more than some network latency but I have always relied of DK to keep the drives healthy. The built in MS tool is worthless after a point. These little projects are mounting up and I need some relax time too!!

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Well, lol, this thread took off in a different direction ;-) ...as does happen...

 

My original intent was to gather some input from others ..if they have experienced heavy defragmentation on the sys drive of a WHS when no active defrag utility is being used.

 

now just to cover a few points raised from above:

 

  • I am conigsent of MS telling us not to defrag WHS pool drives. I only ran defrag utility on the boot partition or sys drive. (not the "D" partition)
  • I also remember reading the MS instruction that the defrag and VSS service do not co-insist very well.
  • Due to the earlier file corruption issue with WHS, I believe that MS direct us to not use the VSS facilities.
  • Therefore, question to MS tech heads ......is it OK now to run defrag on shares if most of us have followed MS instruction not to run VSS???

 

have I got it right?? ..anybody know the answer??

..and then finally does anybody know if fragmentation in the pool drives is a valid performance issue ...or not ....perhaps if a moot point then this hole thread is a waste of time ...but it does get the grey matter working overtime ;-)

 

Phil

Edited by manphil
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Phil, that's my take on the whole thing, too. Use VSS? Use caution/PerfectDisk/Diskeeper. Otherwise, use the built-in defragmenter.

 

Is fragmentation in the pool drives a performance issue? My experience says it can be. I've seen wireless streaming of movies nicely improved after defragging the file(s).

 

As to WHS's management of fragmentation, drives will become more and more fragmented over time. This is a screen shot of a system drive last defragged about 2-3 months ago. Not bad by any means, but not great.

 

WHSDefragAnalysisReport2.png

 

*I notice that mrossco mentioned using Defraggler on Vista/Win7 in another post. I just installed and ran it on my EX495. This is a nice utility because you can defrag individual files.

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